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What are the MOST USEFUL features in a digital camera?

That is , for the traveler of course! Also, what are the most esential accessories with which I shouldn´t travel without for the digital camera?

Posted by
9363 posts

Assuming you're looking at a common digital camera (not a professional model), a good zoom is handy, so the more optical zoom it has, the better. Take extra batteries, adaptor/converter for your battery charger, extra memory cards (I like several smaller cards instead of one huge one).

Posted by
10344 posts

Being able to review each photo, as you take it to see if it is a good one, or at the end of the day to delete those that are not keepers.

Posted by
1449 posts

To me, the most useful feature is size. Small size. I have a 6MP camera that fits easily into a shirt pocket. It is a great daylight camera and takes sharp pictures, doesn't do so great in low natural light w/o a flash. But that hasn't been a problem since when you can't use a flash pics are usually not allowed anyway (museums, etc). With a small camera I don't have it hanging around my neck marking me as a tourist, it isn't going to get pulled off my neck, and its light enough that I always have it with me instead of having to decide "should I bring the camera?"

The next most useful accessory is plenty of memory. Take too many pictures and discard them later at home.

Posted by
31471 posts


The MOST USEFUL features on a digital (travel) Camera are somewhat dependant on your "shooting style". What type of photos will you be taking?

If you're most concerned with close-up shots, then good zoom range is important. Most of the small P&S Cameras with 3x zoom are somewhat "lacking" in this area.

If you're most concerned with scenery and good city & building photos, then wide angle capability is important. Again, most P&S models are not ideal in this regard.

If capturing low light shots inside historic buildings is a concern, then good ISO range is important. Newer P&S Cameras are improving in this regard, however some have less-than-perfect noise reduction as the ISO speed increases, making some of the higher ranges less functional.

I tend to group digital Cameras into three general categories:

  • Point & Shoot
  • "Monster Zoom"
  • Digital SLR

Some travellers pack along both a compact P&S as well as a dSLR, as this provides a good mix.

Posted by
1806 posts

Look into purchasing a "Gorillapod" tripod. Based on the size of your camera, you will buy a small, medium, or large one. they are very lightweight, and wrap around ANYTHING! This way you can take pictures of yourself, or you and a travel partner anywhere!

I just bought one at REI for an upcoming trip with my daughter..I'm so tired of only one person being in the photo, or asking someone to take our picture!

Posted by
42 posts

I have a Panasonic Lumix point and shoot type that has a ten x optical zoom. It is not as small as those little credit card size cameras, but that is because with a ten x zoom you can't get any smaller than it already is. It is small enough for me to fit in my purse and my coat pocket etc. It is very important that you pay attention to the optical zoom wording because the digital zooms are not as good as the optical zoom. It takes great pictures and has many fancy features that I don't even know how to use yet. I got it at Costco for a great price.

Posted by
21720 posts

A good feature that I think is critical but seldom used or even understood by most shooters is the fill flash feature.

Posted by
389 posts

For travel I like the feature that allows me to take pictures in museums without flash. It is called different things on different cameras, but most have the feature but obviously many people don't know how to use it as they continue to use flash when it isn't appropriate.

Posted by
80 posts

I think the most useful feature is the timer which allows you to set the camera and then take a picture of yourself or yourself and your travel companion. We travel a great deal in remote areas and since I bought my digital (and really learned how to use it) I had pix of scenery alone or just one of us in the picture.

Posted by
24 posts

ISO settings at either extreme...most have between 100 and 1600, but its nice to have a 50 (some cameras do) and at the other extreme of 3200 (very very few cameras do). 3200 would be very nice to be able to take shots (without flash) in very low light situations. To be honest, I haven't used 3200 as my camera doesn't have it.

Posted by
342 posts

Only can repeat here , but as for memory - I brought two 2-gig cards on a 14 day trip and didn't fill either of them. If you use or want to use zoom, try to get a camera with image stabilization.

As mentioned, the self-timer so you can be in the pic is also nice.

As far as what megapixel camera to get - it depends on what you intend to do with the pics. If you intend to keep them in the digital state (that is, view them mainly on your pc from cd's) a lower MP camera will do. If you want to print them (and especially large prints) you need more MP's.

Posted by
2 posts

You want a camera that you'll use, and won't become a burden or worry to you because you have to constantly think about how to use it or if it will be lost or stolen. So it should easily slip into a purse or pocket.A Canon digital Elph (many models) are great and easy to use.